Palazzo Medici

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Map of Florence 

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Palazzo Medici

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Lorenzo de' Medici

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Palazzo Medici Courtyard

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Pope Clement VII

When Michelangelo’s father Lodovico Buonarroti finally agreed to let Michelangelo studied the arts, he wrote to Lorenzo de’ Medici who was a distant relation to the Buonarroti family. [1] Lodovico Buonarroti and Lorenzo de’ Medici agreed that Michelangelo would study at the Medici Palace and work in Lorenzo de’ Medici’s sculpture garden at San Marco. From the years 1490 until 1492, Michelangelo lived with Lorenzo de’ Medici in his home. Lorenzo the Magnificent, as he was also known, was a Florentine statesmen and one of the most famous patrons of the arts during the Renaissance. In his home at the Medici Palace, Lorenzo de’ Medici had an extensive collection of art and antiquities with which Michelangelo would have been acquainted.  Most of these items were small engraved gems dating back to Hellenistic Greece, bowls, coins, small marble statues and vases, but Lorenzo also collected a fair amount of paintings by famous artists such as Jan Van Eyck. [2]

Michelangelo was not only exposed to Lorenzo’s art and antiquities collections but also was invited to participate in social events with the Medici family. Lorenzo de’ Medici had dinners with members of the Medici family, contemporary philosophers, artists, and the wealthy elite. Topics such as politics and philosophies like Neo-Platonism were discussed around the table by humanists such as Marsilio Ficino - an influence that shows itself in the later works of Michelangelo like The Doni Tondo. [3] During Michelangelo’s time residency in the Medici Palace, Giulio di Giuliano de' Medici, the orphaned nephew of Lorenzo de’ Medici who would become Pope Clement VII, was living at the Palace as well. It is here that Michelangelo gained a lifelong friendship with Pope Clement the VII that led to his commission for the San Lorenzo, The Laurentian Library and just before Pope Clement VII’s death The Last Judgment. [4]



[1] Elam

[2] Fusco

[3] D'Ancona

[4] Vasari, Hibbard, Levine